"This documentary centers on amateur grizzly bear expert Timothy Treadwell, who periodically journeyed to Alaska to study and live with the bears. The outdoorsman and author -- along with his partner, Amie Huguenard -- was eventually killed and devoured by one of the very animals to whom he had devoted years of study." http://movies.yahoo.com
NOTE: This Spoiler was sent in by Spiritflare who says... "A very touching movie - one is left wondering how two young lives were lost in acquiring this amazing and beautiful footage, and how whenever someone crosses the boundary between wildlife and humans, the only outcome is often tragic, in this case for Timothy and his girlfriend."
The movie is a montage of bear footage self-filmed and narrated by Timothy, interspersed with interviews mostly of people who knew Timothy before his life was cut short in 2003 when a bear killed and ate him and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard at his Alaskan camp. It starts with Timothy against a gorgeous backdrop of the Alaskan wilderness, with 2 brown bears (grizzlies) in the background. Timothy introduces the bears by their names, and then starts a diatribe on how he is privileged to be in their presence, while simultaneously warning the audience about appropriate behavior in the presence of bears, and basically summarizes that it is the bears who tolerate him, not the other way around, and that he is grateful and privileged to be in their presence..he turns away from the camera back to the bears, and tells them he loves them and he's happy they are his "friend".
During this scene, a wild fox cuts jumps across the screen, and it is moments like this that we will notice throughout his takes that are a testament to the real beauty of nature and wilderness aside from just Tim's self-footage.
We then cut to a scene where his ex-girlfriend is explaining more about Tim's fascination with bears, and how he was out their in the wilderness trying to save them and promote their cause against poachers, encroaching civilization and the US government, most notably the Park Service. We then cut back to more footage of Timothy introducing new bears and describing them by names like "Mr. Chocolate" and "Booble". Almost all this footage is self-filmed and narrated, and Tim speaks honestly to the camera, giving a brief history of the bears in the scene, how he met them, calling them his friends and telling them how much he loves them. We cut back to a scene where the coroner who examined the remains of Tim & Amie describes more or less the final moments of how Tim's video camera happened to be on during the attack, but that the lens cap was on preventing anything from being filmed, but all the audio was captured which provided some clues to the final horrifying moments as it was clear while Tim was being attacked, Amie was trying to defend him against the bear, before she herself was attacked and killed.
Again,we cut back to a scene at Tim's camp in Katmai National Park in Alaska, and we're introduced to the foxes he has adopted or who have adopted him. He pets them on the head and tells them how grateful he to them "Thanks for letting me be your friend" and how they protect him and watch out for him. Again, we see more bear footage - a lot of it is closeup and it's amazing to watch large 800lb brown bears walk right up to Timothy and he touches them on the nose. None of them seem aggressive, but for the most, just curious. They get right up to him and then walk away. During all this, Tim is talking constantly to both the audience and the bears, calling them by their names and telling them to back down and go off and play. During one scene, he turns his back on bear he is introducing to us, telling us that sometimes it shows aggressive tendencies, and it comes up to him and makes some sounds which Tim says are threatening, but he turns right at it and makes similar bear noises, and the bear backs off. It really seems to suggest that Timothy is communicating with them, and as long as he is respectful of them, they are respectful of his presence, which he keeps reiterating to us in his narration. He also warns the audience that he has to "stand his ground" and that he can't show he's afraid of he'll definitely be mauled or killed. It's surprising how many times in the footage we are reminded of this over and over again, that one slight mistake by Timothy could result in his death. He is almost verbatim in this respect telling us that if he ever showed fear he would be killed outright and decapitated. He continues his narration with more name-calling of his bears, introductions and telling us how privileged and grateful he is to be in their presence, and how they have adopted his presence as normal and how they are his "friends" and that he loves them. Unfortunately we already know the outcome of how wrong this rationale was.
We cut back to a scene where the bush plane pilot and Tim's friend describes how he dropped Tim & Amie off for their last expedition (2003) and when he came back to the pre-designated spot to pick them up at the end of the summer, at a place called "The Grizzly Maze", he was being stalked by an aggressive bear he had seen earlier that season, and felt something was not right because of the presence of the bear and also that his calls to Tim & Amie were not being answered. He goes back into his plane and buzzes the campsite, only to discover the bear eating at a human rib cage. Immediately he suspects what has happened, and calls in the Park Rangers, who shoot the bear. Later they discover human remains in the bear's stomach, which the coroner we were introduced to earlier was describing.
Again we cut back to a scene in the wild again, with Tim filming a fight between two huge grizzlies. A lot of this footage is spectacular, and I doubt that we shall ever see anything like this on National Geographic or any commercial venue - this type of footage is only garnished by interacting directly with animals in the way Tim did, and it certainly provides a first-hand perspective that is awesome and endearing. A lot of the footage Tim took is very humorous - he is a natural comedian and his narration is almost as much about his personal struggle and demons than it is of "his" bears. There is footage of him on the David Letterman show, of teaching (for free) school children about bears, and openly discussing his previous alcoholism and drug abuse and how society was unable to provide the treatment he needed, only the bears have done this for him. His arrangement with them was that he would defend them against society and they would make him a better person. Some of the footage is self-reflection on his relationships, mostly among the women in his life, and a lot of it is humorous and uplifting. However, it is easy to see that Timothy was a person who was a loner, struggling inside and probably suffering from depression, which is alluded to, that he was offered, but chose not to take treatment for in his past, because part of his mood swings were part of living life as he chose to, which has natural ups and downs. There are more interviews with his friends, his parents, and even some bear biologists and ecologists, and in a nutshell, they all more or less felt that while Timothy probably had good intentions, he was ultimately misguided, and paid the ultimate price. One of the people who had a negative opinion of him, is asked why he thought the bears tolerated Tim's presence for 13 consecutive summers, but then decided to kill him only recently. The man thinks about it for a second, and then replies that the bears probably thought "Timothy was mentally retarded". There are many funny moments in the movie, but there is subtle undercurrent of tragedy running through the film, and it's sad to watch. Later there is some footage showing Timothy ranting at the US government and mouthing off the Park Service, there is a sense that Tim is falling sick to paranoia, but he does it again in his own humourous, offbeat style, and it's funny to watch. There are some scenes with him stalking out tourists which he calls "poachers"..it's hard to discern who exactly the people are, but one of them is stupidly flinging rocks at one of Tim's bears, trying to get a photo, which is upsetting Tim deeply. There are other scenes of Tim discovering how one of his beloved foxes has been killed by wolves, and he reflects on how cruel the world is to allow this type of thing, but is somehow incognizant of nature's cycles and survival of the fittest...for Timothy, his premise was based on universal harmony in nature and the universe between all living things, and of course we know this is not the case. Timothy was trying to become a bear, and is reflected in his journals and writings that he wanted to "mutate" into one, of course in the context of his life we can see this was perhaps an escape mechanism for his tortured soul.
We cut to the final scenes of Timothy wrapping up his 2003 season - it's getting to close to winter and the bears are all hibernating or getting ready to. There is some footage of Amie, though we never see her face, and we are told that in Tim's journals she was in fact scared of bears, and was considering ending their relationship to pursue a job back on the mainland. However, we know that she stayed with him and together they fought off the bear killing them, and spent their final moments together. Some of this footage was filmed only hours before Tim & Amie's death, and a lot of it is eerily a self-premonition. In one scene Tim says that if something should happen, he is happy because he is doing what he wants to, and he is in a place where he wants to be. A lot of criticism he will receive after his death is directed at his purported selfishness because although that is what he wanted to do, we know that Amie felt differently based on Tim's journals. She was scared of the bears. There is more footage of Tim speaking to the camera and describing the Grizzly Maze - he tells people that if they ever come here and try to camp in dense bush instead of out in the open, they would immediately be killed if a bear stumbled into their camp, which is precisely what Tim & Amie are doing - they are camping in dense bush instead of out in the open where the bears can see them, and in a few hours we realize that both will be dead. Nonetheless, we see that from Timothy's perspective, as he tells us that he is the only person on the planet who has lived with bears so long, that for him, this is where he needs to be.
We cut to a scene where the coroner is handing Timothy's still-ticking watch to his former ex-girlfriend, and she lets the coroner listen to the videotape of Tim's last moments, to which the coroner does, and is apparently appalled by it, telling her to destroy the tape and never listen to it or view the photos of Tim, to which she tearfully agrees.
The final scene is off 3 of Tim's closest friends - his ex-girlfriend, the Bush Pilot and a woman who used to store Tim's gear when he went on expeditions into the wilderness are at his final campsite. In a beautiful meadow, they scatter his ashes, and tell him that he now he can rest forever where he wanted to be. The camera pans over the rugged Alaskan wilderness and we are told how when Timothy was just about to fly back to California, he was confronted over his airfare by a ticket agent, which caused Timothy to rant about just how much he hated society and he immediately returned to Alaska.
Many blame Timothy for anthropomorphizing the bears, but one has the feeling after watching this, that maybe he knew something we didn't, and that he was a lot smarter than he is given credit for. Unfortunately, there are an equal number of people who suggest he got what he deserved. The only thing we are left to judge at the end is his amazing and beautiful footage which is his legacy.
Fade to black.
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